Questions and Answers
Should one set signs as to whom their partner should be and how can you tell if this ‘person’ is the ‘right one’?
Asking for a sign is well and good, but are you prepared to live by the answer you receive? Many times we will keep asking until we get the response we want rather than seeking the Lord’s will on the matter. Often we ask our family and close friends what they think of a certain person we may be interested in, but do not heed the advice if it is contrary to what we think or feel it should be. The story of Balaam serves as a timely reminder of someone who asked for, but didn’t follow God’s advice. On inquiry whether to go with Balak and curse Israel, the Lord said, “Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed” (Numbers 22:12). Balaam forwarded this reply to the servants of Balak; there was no chance that he would go and curse Israel—that was until he was offered great riches and honour to do it.
Balaam told Balak’s servants that even for riches he could not curse Israel. That should have been the end of it, but Balaam said that he would go and inquire of the Lord again. Did he think that the Lord would change His mind because money was involved? No. So why did Balaam go and ask again? Then when he did ask and the Lord told him to go, had God changed His mind? Of course not; the Lord would not stop Balaam from going—but He would stop Balaam from cursing Israel.
In Numbers 22:22 it says, “And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him.” So, if you are going to pray and fast for a sign, be sure that you quiet your inner self long enough to hear the Lord’s response; and be wise enough and brave enough to heed the answer.
It should not be a fanciful notion—“If she looks over at me right now, I’ll ask her to marry me;” rather a request for the Lord to guide you in the best decision for your life. It is important to carefully consider selecting someone to share your life with; to choose a companion who will be united with you in marriage for life.
“Let those who are contemplating marriage weigh every sentiment and watch every development of character in the one with whom they think to unite their life destiny. Let every step toward a marriage alliance be characterized by modesty, simplicity, sincerity, and an earnest pur¬pose to please and honour God.” —The Ministry of Healing, p. 359.
“Before taking a step which is to exert an influence upon all your future life, I urge you to give the subject careful and prayerful deliberation.
“Will this new relationship prove a source of true happiness? Will it be a help to you in the Christian life? Will it be pleasing to God? Will your example be a safe one for others to follow?” —Messages to Young People, p. 439.
If you cannot honestly answer yes to these questions; if the life and desires of the one you are thinking of courting are out of harmony with God’s ways—then be sure not to heed any other signs you may receive, for they are bound to lead you astray.
— Selected from GRS1, Courtship
How do you explain 1 Corinthians 14:34 and 1 Timothy 2:11,12?
Here Apostle Paul is giving some light on church order and how we should behave in the house of God. If we read 1 Corinthians 14 from the beginning, we understand that the issue was that the church in Corinth had members who spoke various languages and this caused some misunderstanding and disorder (1 Cor. 14:27). For this reason Apostle Paul suggested that there should be interpreters who would translate what had been said (1 Cor. 14:28).
When explaining the Scriptures and prophecies it appears that many were quite enthusiastic and started talking over one another. Some may have used their own language to speak and some of these women did not understand what had been said. They would ask their husband immediately and the church became very noisy.
Apostle Paul instructed those who did not understand what was said, to be silent and wait until it was explained so all could understand what had been said (1 Cor. 14:30). For the women he suggested that they should not talk but keep silence in the churches. It appears again that some of the women did not understand what was presented and he suggested that they should ask their husbands at home rather than asking questions then and there and creating distracting noise and confusion. Finally he concludes that chapter by saying, “Let all things be done decently and in order.”
Again in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 Apostle Paul is bringing attention to the women. It appears that women were creating shows taking all the attention to themselves. Adorning themselves with all sorts of precious materials, very expensive clothes, wearing their hair in different styles, forgetting that God requires them to be modest, giving glory to the one who created them rather than themselves. Apostle Paul is reminding women to avoid taking over and controlling the meetings in the church. But at the same time he emphasizes godliness and modesty that needs to be the ruling guide in both men and women.
How do you overcome temptation?
If you are human, you need to read this article. We all battle with temptations. Why is this? Where do these temptations come from? And how can we overcome them? Let’s take a brief look behind the scenes.
Where it all began
When God created the earth, everything was perfect. Adam and Eve were perfect. They enjoyed perfect communion with God. But there was a problem. You see, Lucifer, the chief angel and second only to Christ, had become dissatisfied with his position and had incited a rebellion amongst the angels in Heaven and there had been a war in heaven. Lucifer lost the war and was expelled from Heaven. He turned his attention to earth. He thought that if he could cause man to sin, then he could set up a rival kingdom to God’s. Adam and Eve fell for his temptation and the course was set for the whole of the human race to follow.
Satan hates mankind because we are God’s handiwork. He is constantly on guard to trip us up and never wastes an opportunity. There is good news though! Just as soon as man fell into sin, God swung into action with the Plan of Redemption. Christ would take the punishment and die for the sins of mankind, and thereby save him from Satan’s control. What a wonderful God we serve!
Now Satan knows that his days are numbered, and all he is concerned about is to take as many people down with him as he can. He works by assailing us with finely tuned temptations; temptations in areas in which we are weak. But we don’t have to succumb to his attacks.
A way of escape
Christ overcame Satan on the cross, and he promises power to each one of us to do the same! He has also promised that Satan will not be allowed to tempt us more than we are able to bear. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” What a marvellous promise!
What is this way of escape? How do we overcome temptation? These temptings are so strong; I’ve tried many times to overcome, and every time failed miserably. Matthew 26:41 says, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Is this true for you? It sure is for me! Am I willing to resist evil? Absolutely! Am I able to? Never! Paul had this same experience in Romans chapter 7. “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” (Romans 7:19) Seems pretty hopeless, doesn’t it?
So what is the way of escape? The apostle James says “submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” James 4:7-8. The key is submission to God—letting God work in your heart. He promises to work “in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13) Isn’t that great? The God of the universe has promised to work in our hearts! Why wouldn’t we want to submit ourselves to Him?
“This is all good and well,” I hear you say, “but how do I resist?” Well, Ellen White puts it very well: “Unless there is a possibility of yielding, temptation is no temptation. Temptation is resisted when man is powerfully influenced to do a wrong action; and, knowing that he can do it, resists, by faith, with a firm hold upon divine power. This was the ordeal through which Christ passed.” (YI, July 20, 1899) See? When we are tempted, we can take hold of God’s power by faith, and we are enabled to resist. This is what Christ has promised to share with us.
Christ came to this earth and although viciously attacked by Satan, lived a sinless life. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus has gone on before us and shown us the way. Will we follow in His footsteps?
We often tend to think that it is all too much and why bother. Heaven seems far away and not quite real. But Heaven is real. God is waiting to take His children home. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Heaven will be better than our wildest dreams! And Jesus has paid the price for our admission there. He promised, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Revelation 3:21
James 1:12 says “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” Let us look to Jesus and follow Him. Let us strive to overcome temptation with the aid of His promised power. Heaven will be cheap enough!
I have accepted Jesus as my Saviour but I have not yet been baptised, would I be lost if my life ended?
The question refers to the Bible passage in John 3:3-5. If we take this text solely on its own merit we would come to such a conclusion, but God in His Word has instructed us to compare scripture with scripture to come to a correct understanding of His truth for us.
For a direct answer to your question we can look to the penitent thief on the cross beside Jesus; we turn to Luke 23:40-43 “But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” **
Here we have a man who not only recognizes his guilt but also acknowledges or confesses such, and then expresses his hope in being redeemed. Now Jesus assures him that he will be with Him in Paradise. By this we understand that he was justified by his faith. We also note that he didn’t have the opportunity to step off the cross and be baptised by water, yet he was promised that he would “enter the kingdom of God”.
Let us see what Jesus was really saying to Nicodemus in John 3:3-5. We must remember that Nicodemus was a natural born and devout Jew, and by their status they naturally anticipated admission into the kingdom of God. Jesus is stating here that profession or baptism alone is not sufficient but the work of the spirit and true heart conversion is essential to enter God’s kingdom. Let us look at a few other verses to conclude:
Romans 6:3-5 “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection”.
The thief beside Christ was justified just as by faith we can all be justified, but he didn’t have further opportunity to reveal his faith through his life; so by being crucified with Christ, or born of the Spirit, our life will reveal our faith and from “henceforth we should not serve sin.” Let’s compare Acts 17:30 with James 4:17 “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:” (Acts 17:30) “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
As our life continues after our profession, God holds us responsible to the knowledge we have gained. When our life reveals the fruits of our faith we are born of the Spirit and this is essential together with our profession of baptism to enter into the kingdom of Heaven. If we were to die before our baptism we can believe in Christ’s promise just as the penitent thief on the cross.
** Please note, that according to the Hebrew rendition of this text, the comma is optional, and its placement can effect the interpretation of the text.
Please explain Luke 22:35-38
Please read the texts Luke 22:35-38. It is true it can appear that Christ is condoning the carrying of weapons. There are two things that make this question more difficult and that is that the Spirit of Prophecy is silent in behalf of these texts, and Luke out of all the gospels is the only one that records this conversation between Christ and the disciples.
When we talk about carrying weapons, we naturally think of self-defence. Let us look at the weight of evidence to gain the correct view.
In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:11 and 12, Christ said “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven….” Matthew 5:38, 39: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Christ taught us not to resist evil but to turn the other cheek. This is a direct opposite to the thought of retaliation. This is strongly reinforced in verses 43 and 44 of the same chapter: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” To live according to this instruction we would have no use for a weapon of defence. Let us read verse 45 (first part), “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” Let us here also note Philippians 2:14, 15: “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;”
Now back to Luke 22:35-38 to see the setting in which these words were spoken to the disciples. In verses 31-34 Christ is telling Peter that he will deny Him and that he is still full of self – an unconverted man. Christ knew they were still relying on their own selves and their own efforts for success. He had sent them without purse and scrip and shoes, to teach them to rely on God in all things (Matthew 10:9, 10). Christ still knew that though they were with Him those three years and witnessed His many acts of love and compassion to all, including the despised, they were still holding on to the concept of “eye for eye, tooth for tooth.”; e.g., when James and John wanted to command fire to come from heaven to consume a village that would not receive them. Jesus had said to them at the time “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.” (Luke 9:52-56).
Knowing their spirit, Christ endeavours to help them further recognise that they still had purses and scrips, and He tells them to sell their garment to buy a sword. They obviously didn’t have to, as they said they already had two with them. This reveals that they were still depending on these things and had not yet learned the lessons He had tried to teach them. Christ did not outrightly ask them if they had swords, but by telling them to sell their garments, they themselves admitted they already had two swords. That is why Jesus said, “It is enough.” All Christ’s talking and examples had still not taught them “what manner of spirit” they had. He was going to let their own future actions teach them this great lesson.
Later that same night when Jesus was confronted by the mob (Luke 22:47) with swords and staves (Matthew 26:47), one of the disciples uses one of the two swords they had with them, and strikes a man and cuts off his ear. John 18:10 tells us that Peter was the one who drew the sword. This action by Peter could have started a major fight. Christ shows the ‘better way’ by restoring the man’s ear and telling Peter to “Put up thy sword into the sheath:” (John 18:11). Matthew 26:52 goes further by saying, “for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” This concept was further reinforced when Christ was before Pilate. “My kingdom is not of this world: If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” John 18:36.
When Christ was denied by Peter in the judgment hall (before the cock crowed twice), Peter then realised how reliant he was on self and went out and wept bitterly. He had learned his lesson, he was now a converted man.
The disciples often had to go out into a hostile world, especially while persecuted, and weapons of self-defence would have been useful (from a human viewpoint), but nowhere in the book of Acts is there any record of the apostles ever using or carrying weapons. I believe the apostles had finally learnt the lesson of loving your enemies that Christ had tried teaching them.
Could you please explain the meaning of Song of Solomon 8:6,7?
“Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.” Song of Solomon 8:6, 7
In order for us to gain a clear understanding of these verses, we first need to define what this love is, that cannot be quenched. Love is often thought of as an emotion within us which we sometimes feel and sometimes not. Today we feel kind and loving to all around us, tomorrow not so. In fact the sad truth is that when burdened by some anxiety we often become irritable, short tempered, and think or express negative or even hateful thoughts to those around us – why is this so?
Let’s take a look at Isaiah 43:2, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
This verse suggests that no matter what our situation, God will be with us. Amid all the variables of our lives there is one constant – God and His love toward us – and, by His grace, in us. This love cannot be quenched – that is, it cannot be put out. Human love can be quenched by time, distance, death, misunderstandings, gossip or hatred.
God and His love on the other hand are infinite. Humans may abuse and try to stamp out the love of God, yet it continues. Consider Christ’s love while here on earth – daily He spent time with Judas, treating him with tenderness.
Though surrounded by a maddened mob that wanted His life, His love was still shown by healing the ear of the high priest’s servant (Mark 14:47) and by praying for those who nailed Him to the cross (Luke 23:34)! If true love (God’s love) could be quenched, surely these terrible situations would have done it. Divine love however “…is not an emotion or an impulse but a decision of a sanctified will. It consists not in feeling but in the transformation of the whole heart, soul, and character, which is dead to self and alive unto God…. This love is not an impulse but a divine principle, a permanent power.” 1 MCP p 206
In the Song of Solomon, marriage, a human relation which is to be close and constant, is used to illustrate God’s unfailing love for His church. When Christ’s love is not in the heart human love fails. It is then that we experience the ups and downs of fiery impetuous human love which can be quenched by externals. This is why it is important for us to respond to the love Christ is showing us and allow the same life-giving principle into our lives. God’s will for us is that nothing at all will separate us from Him and cause us to lose having His love in our lives.
Romans 8:35, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
We hope these thoughts are a help to you all. True love is a boundless theme so please take the time to look at the following references for a better understanding: 1 Corinthians 13, 1 John 4:8, Psalm 93:4, Education pp. 92-94, The Faith I Live By p 255, Mind Character and Personality Vol.1, pp. 206, 207.
Is it wrong to shave your head?
Over the last few years we have seen an increase in the shaving of heads and there are many reasons that individuals give if you ask as to why they shaved their hair off. We will look at a few things here to ascertain whether it is appropriate for a Christian to shave their head.
Hair has always been a medium whereby people seek to make a statement in that they want to be seen as different, just want to be noticed, even if the feedback is negative, or just simply to keep up with the trends and fashions.
We begin with the ‘Mohawk’ as perhaps the most dramatic, and then there are the undercut, spiked, dreadlocks, bleached, coloured, particularly in bright colours. As we still see a mixture of most of these the shaved head has slowly become more popular and the most common terms used to describe such a person are, bald, bald by choice, shaved, smooth, hairless, skinhead, Mr. Clean, cue-balled, and smooth- skulled. “Skinhead” properly refers to a subculture that got its start as a working class movement in England in the 60’s and since then has been applied to anyone with no hair and often meant in a derogatory way.
The various things we have noted above are mostly generated from the punk scene which came to view in the late 60’s through the 70’s and is still a major part of the music world today. To be an Icon of your favourite music star is the initial response to the trend setters. The motive that controls the punk scene is expressed in a common phrase you hear from such people, “Finding your Identity”. Between 1968 and 1972 music stores were filled with skinhead anthems such as: “Skinhead Train”, “Crazy Baldhead” and “Skinhead Moondust”. Skinheads were often noted for their antisocial behaviour such as going Hippie bashing and for creating havoc in the soccer terraces. We also note what the word “Punk” means from the Dictionary: – anything worthless, Prostitute.
Looking further into the shaving of the head trend we hear some of the reasons given as – “It looks tough”, “It looks mean”, “It’s cool”. With the third term I could agree in a literal sense as the skin can take up to four months to acclimatise to the cool breezes, but to look cool may be a matter of opinion. Many people are intimidated by the shaved look due to the Neo-Nazi Skinheads or bikie gangs that are seen as tough or mean, having the nasty look. This however may not be the intention of all who decide to shave their heads, yet all we do or say has an effect on others and will bring varied reactions.
It is interesting to note the answer on “Frequently Asked Questions” – www.HeadShaver.org:
“Why is the bald look popular now?
“It’s fashion, pure and simple. Fashion goes in cycles, always moving along on some whim or fancy, always changing. Eventually, most everything under the sun will be fashionable for a time (remember the 70’s?), and then will fade away. There’s no real rhyme or reason.”
The word “fashion” is so often treated like a bad word, but we have to accept that there are some fashions that are acceptable and modest according to Biblical standards and we are given the opportunity to choose between good and not so good fashions. How to determine this, take a careful look at the Word of God and for us, the Spirit of Prophecy included, being sensitive to the image that God wants us as individuals to portray. We need to ask ourselves the question, Does God want us to look “tough”, “mean”, “cool”, like a “punk” or even partly so. Let us read 2 Corinthians 3:18. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Here God wants us to be transformed into His image where people would see “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance”. Galatians 5:22,23.
Let us here have a look into the Bible to see what it might reveal on this subject.
The only place we find a prohibition to shave the head is in Leviticus 21:5. In verses 1-4 God instructed Moses that the priests were not to defile themselves for the dead among His people. He was permitted to defile himself if it involved a close relative, but as a “chief” (verse 4) or leader, he was not to pollute himself. God then continues to say in verse 5, “They shall not make baldness upon their head….” In verse 6 He reminds them that “They shall be holy unto their God….” Ezekiel 44:20 supports this as God was speaking to Ezekiel in vision referring to the priests: “Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads.” Poll means – to cut, trim, clip, crop, the hair short. So we can conclude that the priests (ministers), leaders, should not shave their heads. Let us read Numbers 6:9. “And if any man die very suddenly by him,” (Nazarite) “and he that defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it.”
The purpose for shaving the head was for cleansing after a situation of impurity. Numbers 8:7 is similar. “And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean.” The Levites were to shave all their flesh as a symbol of cleansing for the office that they were ordained to fill. Another time of cleansing is mentioned in Leviticus 14:8, 9. A leper at the time of his cleansing was to shave off all his hair, head, beard, eyebrows, etc. so the priest could see that all leprosy was cured.
Another occasion where head shaving is mentioned is Job 1:20. For Job it was a symbol of grief after all his children were killed. In Deuteronomy 21:11-13 God instructs an Israelite man that falls in love with a captive girl that he could only take her to wife after her time of mourning for her parents. It was during that time of mourning that she was to shave her head.
The Bible shows no other specifics on the subject that I could find. It only supports head shaving for the purposes of cleansing and mourning and may I suggest humbling. God has a reason or purpose for everything He does or has created and there are many things we can’t explain because we can’t understand God. Try to imagine a world without grass. Try to imagine all humanity without hair on their heads. Satan has always tried to keep humans as far as possible from the image of God. Remember that God made Adam “in our image, after our likeness”. John saw Jesus in Revelation 1:14 “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow….”
The decision remains for us as to which image we choose to reflect.
What is wrong with watching horse races without gambling?
Firstly let us confirm that God created the horse in the very beginning and that it certainly is a beautiful creature. We can say that it is very strong with incredible endurance. Throughout history, the horse was very useful to farmers, industry and transport of many varieties. The faster they wanted the job done, the more horses they would harness together, until today it is still referred to as horse power in the many varieties of petrol engines. It is amazing to watch horses perform in whatever they are trained to do. This is what we are seeking to understand in the answer to our question.
In the Bible the horse is first mentioned in Genesis 47:17, where the people of Egypt brought their horses, etc. to Joseph as payment for grain during the seven years of drought. There are many references throughout the Bible in behalf of horses, concluding with magnificent coloured horses of prophecy in Revelation. In the Bible and history books we read many references in regard to horses used in warfare as a major part of the war machinery. This was one of the classifications as to how powerful a country was by the amount of horses it had in its army. This brought the idea that the faster the horses, the better. So specific breeding was engaged. I quote here from Funk and Wagnall’s Encyclopedia page 206.
“Throughout most of Europe, from early in the Christian era to about the 17th century, the powerful native horses were used for military mounts, for hauling heavy loads, and as pack animals. During the same period the Arabic world had developed its smaller, fast-galloping breeds, which were introduced into Spain after the Muslim conquest in the 9th century….”
“…When the Arabs conquered Spain in the 8th century, they rode strong, swift horses of a breed previously unknown in Europe; these horses were also used to draw vehicles. The fame of the Arabian steeds spread throughout Europe in subsequent centuries. In 1110, Henry I, king of England, imported an Arabian stallion from Spain; the stallion and other Arabian horses were later mated with strong but slow English mares to breed swift, hardy horses suitable for warfare. Informal races between purebred mounts over straight 4-mile courses became popular. In 1174, Smithfield Track, the first public racecourse built since Roman times, was constructed in London. Saddle racing subsequently became a featured sport at most English fairs, and it continues to be a favorite pastime of English royalty and nobility. Horse racing is still popularly referred to as ‘the sport of kings’. King Charles II, who patronized racing at New market, was known as ‘the father of the British turf’.” Funk and Wagnall’s Encyclopedia page 220.
From these two statements we see that horse racing was a major part of the horse world. Other references date right back to the 6th century BC for horse and chariot races.
We also note something interesting in the Encyclopedia Britannica.
“…No great forward movement of mankind was made without the assistance of the equine race. So consistently was this the case that the glorified figure of ‘the man on horseback’ became the symbol of power. The image of the horse was stamped upon man’s coinage, sculptured on his temples and even elevated to his pantheon and worshipped as divine. While animal worship has always been characteristic of savage races, only the horse has been accorded a religious reverence in advanced stages of civilization; it became the theme of poetry and romance and next to man himself, the most often portrayed in the fine arts.” Encyclopedia Britannica page 754 (1958). Religious reverence would be the major influence in all types of horse racing.
Gambling or betting on horses dates back many centuries and today there are little other reasons for a horse race. By betting you predict like a prophet which horse will win and you hope your prediction comes true. So in reference to our question, we want to ask ourselves some questions. What atmosphere prevails at such events? What really would be our reason for desiring to watch horse races? Whom only should we hold in religious reverence? Are we seeking the enjoyments or pleasures of this world or the enjoyments of the New World?
The other point I would like us to consider is that we can have good intentions and claim that we will not gamble, but if we place ourselves into the way of temptation, we can surely fall. That horse that you like, won the race. Then you reason, “If I had laid a bet, I could have won,” or you are tempted to just put down a dollar. “Surely a small amount won’t hurt??”
I would like you to carefully consider the following statements to come to a clear conclusion.
“You have no time to devote to the theater or the dance hall. You have no time to grumble. It is lost, lost. You have no time to play cards. You have no time to attend horse races. You have no time to attend shows. How is it with my soul? . . . Have I a living connection with God? If I have, I must seek to win these souls that are attracted with these outward pleasures. Satan has managed it. Satan has devised it that one pleasure should crowd on the heels of another, a feverish excitement. No time to contemplate God, no time to think of heaven or heavenly things, no time to study the Bible, no time to put forth interested efforts for those that are out of Christ.” EGW, Reflecting Christ 247, 4
“We desire to take the students away from the foul atmosphere of the city. Not that Satan is not here. He is here, but we are trying to do all we can to place the students in the very best circumstances, in order that they may fasten their eyes on Christ. In the country they are not near the temptation of horse-racing and cricket matches. Once in Sydney I saw a great multitude on one of the streets. Hundreds and hundreds, and I might say thousands, were gathered together. “What is the matter?” I asked, “It is because of the cricket match,” was the answer. And while men were playing the game of cricket, and others were watching the game, Satan was playing the game of life for their souls. Therefore we decided to locate our school where the students would not see cricket matches or horse races. We are just where God wants us to be, and many conversions have taken place in this school.” EGW, (Australasian) Union Record, July 26, 1899 par 19
“Jesus, the Lifegiver, who has paid the ransom of his own life for the life of the world, looks upon these wild scenes; and bending down he says, “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace!” Gisborne, New Zealand, is one of the places where scenes like that I have described take place. The people of this town are now waiting for their turn at the races, and they look forward to the day of the race as if some great blessing were then to be bestowed upon them. Thousands upon thousands of pounds of money are expended every year on horse-races and games of a wilder variety. The panic of desire is so contagious that even church-members, professed Christians, are carried away with the excitement, and give countenance to the races by presenting themselves as spectators. If they do not bet on the races, they are still one with the transactors in spirit, and their doings are registered and condemned in the courts of heaven. They are reckoned among the godless company, and must give an account to God for their wasted time and money.” EGW, RH, March 6, 1894 par. 4
“…Satan has devised a multitude of ways in which to keep men from serving God. He has invented sports and games, into which men enter with such intensity that one would suppose a crown of life was to reward the winner. At the horse races and football matches, which are attended by thousands and thousands of people, lives for which Christ shed His blood are thrown away. What will become of the souls of the men and boys whose lives are thus extinguished? Will they be counted worthy of the redemption which Christ died to secure for them? EGW, RH, September 10, 1901 par. 5
“He delighteth not in the strength of the horse:… The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. ” Psalms 147:10 (first part) 11.
“Jesus Christ knew that humanity had not power in itself to resist the temptations of the enemy of souls, and therefore He clothed His divinity with humanity, left His royal throne and high command, and came to this world all seared and marred with the curse, and humiliated Himself, in order to set us an example. . . . He came to this world, not to attend horse races, not to attend the theater, but He came meek and lowly, and He invites us to learn of Him, the King of glory. By doing this we shall obtain the moral power He left the courts of heaven to bestow upon us.” EGW, The Upward Look 307.
In 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, the Apostle Paul refers to the prize of a corruptible crown versus an incorruptible crown. Competition of any kind does not guarantee a win of that corruptible crown, but God offers us a true crown. “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” 1 Peter 5:4. Let this be your hope and excitement.
Reading Hebrews 10:26 does it mean than if I deliberately do something I know to be wrong, I cannot receive forgiveness and therefore my probation is closed?
Sometimes when you read a single verse in the Bible it gives you a first impression that is not always correct. It would appear here on first impression that the very next sin we committed after we are baptised into the truth would wholly cut us off and that the sacrifice of Jesus would be of no avail to us. Thus, as the above question indicates this would then restrict me from obtaining forgiveness (as this can only be obtained through repentance and faith in Christ’s sacrifice) and therefore my probation would be closed.
This verse is a good example in showing us how important it is to study the context of a passage of scripture and how we should compare it with other verses to come to a balanced understanding.
If we read the following verses Apostle Paul clarifies what he meant by this thought, especially verse 29 of Hebrews chapter 10.
“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? Hebrews 10:26-29
Here Paul clarifies his intentions when he states that those who are guilty of wilfully sinning after they have come to Christ have actually trodden upon under their feet Christ and His sacrifice. They count the covenant blood of Christ that was shed on Calvary as an unholy thing, and they have done despite to (grieved) the Holy Spirit.
There are a couple of points worthy of consideration here:
- They tread upon the sacrifice of Christ – that is, they treat the sacrifice of Christ with contempt, placing no value upon it, treading it into the dirt, so to say.
- They regard His shed blood as unholy – that it is not of God, having no cleansing Divine power in it to redeem them, having no moral significance over them.
- They have done despite to the Holy Spirit – that is when someone becomes shut off and ultimately rejects the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
To ‘Sin wilfully’ then in verse 26, cannot refer to a one or two mistakes in the Christian’s life of falling into sin, for notice the counsel in 1 John 2:1, 2: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
John addresses this admonition to ‘my little children’ showing that he is speaking to those who are Christians and part of the family of God. And he counsels them not to sin, but if any do commit a sin he encourages them not to despair, for they are not cast off, nor left alone but that they have an advocate (mediator), Jesus Christ standing before the Father to plead and save them, for He is the propitiation (peace maker, atonement, reconciliation) for our sins. He then says that Jesus will not only save us from our (the Christian’s) sins but He can save anyone in the whole world from their sins.
The Apostle Paul in Heb 10:26-29 is talking about an altogether different situation where a Christian who has believed in Christ and His truth has wilfully chosen to turn his back on Jesus Christ, he has wilfully chosen to regard the sacrifice that he once professed to believe in as worthless and he now chooses to wilfully continue in sin having no regard anymore for the Cross of Christ. This is why Paul further says in verse 26 that there remains no more sacrifice for sin, because if you don’t accept Jesus Christ and His sacrifice to save you from your sins you cannot be saved (Acts 4:12), for Jesus is the only way to be saved. As a result of rejecting Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour then we have actually rejected the only way to be saved and thus we are regarded as lost. Paul further says in the next verse (27) that one who does this has nothing else to look forward to in the future except being burnt in the great day of God’s Judgment. Eternal death is the destiny of all who reject Christ, compared to eternal life for those who accept Him.
When someone who once accepted Christ, comes to this stage of rejecting Jesus and His sacrifice fully and completely and chooses to live a reckless life continuing in sin then this is what is truly meant by grieving the Holy Spirit. It is the mission of the Holy Spirit to bring us to Christ, to make the sacrifice of Christ real and meaningful to us and cause us to accept Jesus as our personal Saviour and be saved. But if we continually reject the only means and way of Salvation the Holy Spirit offers to us then He can do no more and leaves us to our own way. In this context we grieve Him or do Him despite. It is our wilful choice as seen in the case Paul is here referring to. (John 16:7-15, John 3:3-8)
When the point of grieving the Holy Spirit is reached then, and only then, there is no way back and our salvation is lost, we cannot repent, and our probation is closed. Jesus illustrates this in Matthew 12 by equating blasphemy with grieving the Spirit which results in us being lost forever:
“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Matthew 12: 31, 32
It should be noted that it is not God’s decision that this person cannot be saved anymore, but it is the choice of the individual who doesn’t want to be saved, or accept God’s means to be saved. God will do everything in His power to save everyone except force and coerce people – it is a free choice. But He makes clear His desire to see every soul saved and in His Kingdom.
Notice: Ezekiel 33:11 “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”
2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
It should be noted that no human being can mark the time when someone has reached the final point of no return. Only God can read the hearts and know what is truly going on inside the life. Although more often than not the outward fruits reveal our internal condition, this is not always the case. The very ones whom man may deem lost and unworthy of attention may be the very ones whom the Lord is working upon to bring them to His kingdom. This was typical in the life of Christ who illustrated this time and time again to the Jewish scholars through parables like the lost sheep, lost coin, and prodigal son (Luke chapter 15).
Notice the following statements:
“How many of the wandering ones have you, reader, sought for and brought back to the fold? When you turn from those who seem unpromising and unattractive, do you realize that you are neglecting the souls for whom Christ is seeking? At the very time when you turn from them, they may be in the greatest need of your compassion. In every assembly for worship, there are souls longing for rest and peace. They may appear to be living careless lives, but they are not insensible to the influence of the Holy Spirit. Many among them might be won for Christ.”
“If the lost sheep is not brought back to the fold, it wanders until it perishes. And many souls go down to ruin for want of a hand stretched out to save. These erring ones may appear hard and reckless; but if they had received the same advantages that others have had, they might have revealed far more nobility of soul, and greater talent for usefulness. Angels pity these wandering ones. Angels weep, while human eyes are dry and hearts are closed to pity.” Christ Object Lessons p191,
“O the lack of deep, soul-touching sympathy for the tempted and the erring! O for more of Christ’s spirit, and for less, far less, of self!”
“…He has not committed to us the work of judging character and motive. He knows our nature too well to entrust this work to us. Should we try to uproot from the church those whom we suppose to be spurious Christians, we should be sure to make mistakes. Often we regard as hopeless subjects the very ones whom Christ is drawing to Himself. Were we to deal with these souls according to our imperfect judgment, it would perhaps extinguish their last hope. Many who think themselves Christians will at last be found wanting. Many will be in heaven who their neighbors supposed would never enter there. Man judges from appearance, but God judges the heart.” Christ Object Lessons p71, 72:
Salvation is won and lost in the heart and this is often a battle of a lifetime, while there is life there’s hope. It is in the heart where God will determine whether we have either accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour or continually rejected His free offer of salvation. May God help all of us not to turn away from Him but to believe in our only Saviour Jesus Christ. (John 3:16)
Is it wrong to wear jewelry and wedding rings?
As we look at this question let us first consider what counsel the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy give? What is the purpose of jewellery and what effect does the wearing of it have on myself or others? The following counsels from the Bible and SOP are very plain.
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” 1 Peter 3:3, 4
“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” 1 Timothy 2:9
“…Those who cling to the ornaments forbidden in God’s word cherish pride and vanity in the heart. They desire to attract attention. Their dress says: Look at me; admire me. Thus the vanity inherent in human nature is steadily increasing by indulgence. When the mind is fixed upon pleasing God alone, all the needless embellishments of the person disappear.” Testimonies vol. 4, 645
“The love of dress endangers the morals and makes woman the opposite of the Christian lady characterized by modesty and sobriety. Showy, extravagant dress too often encourages lust in the heart of the wearer and awakens base passions in the heart of the beholder. God sees that the ruin of the character is frequently preceded by the indulgence of pride and vanity in dress. He sees that the costly apparel stifles the desire to do good.” Testimonies vol. 6, 45
“…Love of dress and pleasure is wrecking the happiness of thousands.… To dress plainly, ab-staining from display of jewelry and ornaments of every kind, is in keeping with our faith.” Testimonies vol. 3, 366
Based on these and other statements, we understand the Word of God doesn’t support the wearing of jewelry or showy, expensive clothing. Why? God wants us to focus on character building, by His grace developing a meek and quiet spirit rather than decorating and bringing attention to myself.
Some side effects of wearing and cherishing jewelry and wrong dress are:
- Pride and vanity of heart
- Endangering morals
- Encouraging lust and base passion in hearts
- Ruining character
- Stifling the desire to do good
- Wrecking happiness of thousands
While we realise the dangers of jewelry and wrong dress, let us remember that these counsels are given in love for our spiritual and physical happiness and protection. In past history and even today jewelry and expensive clothing can be a sign of a person’s financial status, rank, or social position. Thank God that as Christians we don’t need to spend large amounts of money on material things to show who we are. God accepts us just how we are. In His kingdom:
“…whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke 14:11 “…all ye are brethren.” Matthew 23:8, People of every race and nationality will be included Luke 13:29, There is no respect of persons Acts 10:34.
Next issue we will look at the second part of this question – is it wrong to wear wedding rings? In the mean time please take the time to read the further reading references on this topic. Let us remember to use all the resources God has given us to glorify His name.
Money May Be a Blessing or a Curse. “Money is not necessarily a curse; it is of high value because if rightly appropriated, it can do good in the salvation of souls, in blessing others who are poorer than ourselves. By an improvident or unwise use, …money will become a snare to the user. He who employs money to gratify pride and ambition makes it a curse rather than a blessing. Money is a constant test of the affections. Whoever acquires more than sufficient for his real needs should seek wisdom and grace to know his own heart and to keep his heart diligently, lest he have imaginary wants and become an unfaithful steward, using with prodigality his Lord’s entrusted capital.” Adventist Home, 372
For further reading please see: Reflecting Christ 265, 4 Testimonies chapter 62 (pgs 628-648).
Above we looked at the first part of this question, “is it wrong to wear jewellery”. Let us now take a look at the second part of this question, “is it wrong to wear wedding rings?”
In our previous answer we read that “When the mind is fixed upon pleasing God alone, all the needless embellishments of the person disappear.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 645. We realised we are to dress plainly not trying to attract attention to ourselves.
By some the wedding ring is not thought of as a needless embellishment, but a sign of commitment and love, which gives greater security to the marriage relation. The question then comes, should we look at the wedding ring the same way we look at the wearing of other jewellery or showy ornamentation?
As we consider this subject, a number of questions come to mind.
- Where does the wedding ring originate?
- Why was it worn and what purpose does it have?
- Is this purpose achieved by wearing one?
Firstly where does the wedding ring have its origin?
We know that marriage and the Sabbath originate from God at creation. Where does the wedding ring come from? Does it have any Christian origin or is it a pagan custom adopted by churches later in history?
In the Encyclopedia Britannica (11th Edition, Vol. 23, p. 331) we are told that “this use of the ring which was thus a purely secular origin received ecclesiastical sanction…from the eleventh century.” Rings Through the Ages, (New York, 1945), p.5.
Clearly, the wedding ring doesn’t come from any sort of Christian origin, but was “Christianised” during an age of great spiritual darkness (the dark ages). Let us now go back before this time and find out about the secular origin the Encyclopedia speaks about.
“The wedding ring, that most famous and instantly recognisable symbol of the (hopefully perpetual) joining of a man and a woman as husband and wife in the institution of marriage has a long, wide spread and mysterious history. Its beginnings lie in the deserts of North Africa, where the ancient Egyptian civilisation sprang up along the fertile flood plains of the river Nile.” The History of the Wedding Ring by Matt Jacks.
Where then do we find the origin of the wedding ring? Among the highly civilised and powerful nation of Egypt. Unfortunately the Egyptians were not only highly civilised but also highly superstitious. As a nation Egypt had many gods, who were challenged by plagues poured out by the only true God at the time of the Exodus. Originally the rings worn by the Egyptians were made from papyrus, which grew by the River Nile. Later, glass, glazed pottery, silver, gold and other materials were used.
As time went on, other cultures adopted the use of the wedding ring. The Romans used finger rings of different materials to signify what social class one came from.
“It is interesting to note that during Imperial Rome, gold, silver and iron finger rings were worn in accordance with the social class to which one belonged. The finger ring so to speak, tied a person down to his or her social class.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 1926 ed., s.v. “Ring.”
As the Roman Empire used rings more, even enforcing the wearing of them, finger rings were used to “tie” people not only to their social classes, but also to their marital partners.
Throughout history the wedding ring has been introduced in many different cultures of the world. From among the stories of the wedding ring’s long and mysterious history, another author sheds some light on how wedding and engagement rings came into being. In his book, “How It Began”, Paul Berdanier claims that “the binding use of the ring for betrothal ceremonies developed from an older superstitious practice in which a man tied cords around the waist, wrists and ankles of the woman he had fallen in love with, to make sure that her spirit would be held under his control.” Paul Berdanier, How It Began, as cited by James Remington McCarthy (note 6), p. 154.
Now that we have looked a little at the origin of the wedding ring let us see what purpose or symbolism it has or is designed to have.
What purpose does it have?
The wedding ring originated in Egypt. Why did they start to use it? What significance did it have? To the people of Egypt the Nile River was a god, a bringer of fortune and life. With such beliefs it is not hard to understand why rings, a symbol of life and eternity, were formed from plants growing on the banks of the River Nile.
“The ring is of course a circle and this was the symbol of eternity for the Egyptians as well as many other ancient cultures. It had no beginning and no end, like time. It returned to itself like life: and the shape was worshipped in the form of the Sun and the Moon. The hole in the centre of the ring is not just space either; it is important in its own right as the symbol of the gateway, or door leading to things and events both known and unknown. It is not difficult therefore, to see how the ring and the gift of the ring began to be associated with love, in the hope that this most worthy of emotions could take on the characteristics of the circle and capture eternity.” The History of the Wedding Ring, by Matt Jacks
The following quotes give further insight to the purpose and symbolism of the wearing of a wedding ring, let us read them before going on to our next question.
“In many marriage ceremonies a ring is given. It can act as a token of the promise between two partners to be faithful to each other, and as a confirmation that property has been exchanged between two families. It is also a fertility symbol, and ring-shaped tokens (wreaths and garlands as well as finger rings) have been part of the wedding ceremony in many cultures for thousands of years.” (A Celebration of Customs and Rituals of the World, by Robert Ingpen & Philip Wilkinson)
“The custom of giving a wedding ring also dates back to the ancient Romans. The roundness of the ring probably represents eternity, and the presentation of the rings symbolises that the man and woman are united forever.” World Book Encyclopedia, 2005.
“In ancient times the wedding ring was thought to protect the bride from “evil spirits”. Ancient Roman wedding rings were made of iron and late in Rome a gold band came to symbolise everlasting love and commitment in marriage. Roman wedding rings were carved with two clasped hands. Very early rings had a carved key through which a woman was thought to be able to open her husband’s heart.” (From an essay – An Analysis of Religion – at freeforessays.com)
Are these purposes achieved by wearing a ring?
Or does the wearing of a wedding ring help in any of the ways it was designed to?
The tradition of the wedding ring was developed from older superstitions where a man would bind the one he’d fallen in love with “to make sure that her spirit would be held under his control”. Now boys, if you want to hold a girl’s spirit under your control, remember firstly that it should be under God’s control, not yours. All the ropes, bars, cages, walls or rings that one can use will never work! Unless the spirit of the husband and wife are submitted to God they can never truly love or submit to one another.
Girls, if you think that wearing a ring will keep away evil spirits or open your future husband’s heart—it won’t help here either. God in the heart is the only protection from Satan and developing a loving trusting relation in marriage will be the answer to sharing one another’s secrets.
The wedding ring is supposed to “symbolise that the man and woman are united forever”, that marriage is eternal. Is this correct? The marriage vows are “till death do us part” or “so long as we both shall live”. According to the Word of God, marriage is not eternal, but for life. See Romans 7:3, 1 Corinthians 7:39.
The wedding ring is a fertility symbol. If a couple cannot have children they can wear rings all they like, it won’t help make them any more fertile. God is the giver of all life. Psalm 113:9 says, “He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.”
A wedding ring cannot help any of the above situations, nor has the wearing of one helped slow unfaithfulness and divorce in the world today. Should a Christian wear a wedding ring? Is it necessary? Let’s see what the Spirit of Prophecy has to say.
“Some have had a burden in regard to the wearing of a marriage ring, feeling that the wives of our ministers should conform to this custom. All this is unnecessary. Let the ministers’ wives have the golden link which binds their souls to Jesus Christ, a pure and holy character, the true love and meekness and godliness that are the fruit borne upon the Christian tree, and their influence will be secure anywhere.” Testimonies to Ministers, p. 180.
According to the Spirit of Prophecy the wedding ring is classed as unnecessary. The rest of this statement has at times caused confusion, let us continue to read:
“The fact that a disregard of this custom occasions remark, is no good reason for adopting it. Americans can make their position understood by plainly stating that the custom is not regarded as obligatory in our country. We need not wear the sign, for we are not untrue to our marriage vow, and the wearing of the ring would be no evidence that we were true. I feel deeply over this leavening process which seems to be going on among us, in the conformity to custom and fashion. Not one penny should be spent for a circlet of gold to testify that we are married.
In countries where the custom is imperative, we have no burden to condemn those who have their marriage ring; let them wear it if they can do so conscientiously; but let not our missionaries feel that the wearing of the ring will increase their influence one jot or tittle. If they are Christians, it will be manifest in their Christlikeness of character, in their words, in their works, in the home, in association with others; it will be evidenced by their patience and longsuffering and kindliness. They will manifest the spirit of the Master, they will possess His beauty of character, His loveliness of disposition, His sympathetic heart.” Testimonies to Ministers, 180, 181.
In this statement, Sr White concludes that the wearing of the wedding ring is a leavening process, conforming with custom and fashion and that not one penny should be spent to buy one. If in some countries it is obligatory or imperative (required by law) that the wedding ring be worn, we shouldn’t have a burden to condemn. Certainly now, in this country, this is not the case and even if it was, this statement isn’t encouraging the use of the wedding ring under such conditions. It only says “let them wear it IF they can do so conscientiously”—remember that it won’t help their influence at all.
Considering the background of the wedding ring, the fact that the Bible tells us not to wear gold or costly array, and the Spirit of Prophecy tells us not to spend a cent buying a wedding ring, we need to ask ourselves the question: could I wear a wedding ring? Conscientiously?
Is it OK to play cards if you’re not gambling?
Assuming that the cards in question are those generally used in gambling scenes, such as the ones that have pictures of kings and queens, spades, diamonds, hearts, joker’s etc., we will look at some Spirit of Prophecy statements relevant to this question.
This question is also important because it has to do with our recreation. Whether we study or work for a living we need certain periods of rest from the strain and effort that is required to carry out our work in different lines. Physical recreation is a great blessing for those whose work is mainly mental, and for those who labour physically for a living, finding something that stimulates their thinking, such as learning an instrument, or reading a book or even just resting under the shadow of a beautiful tree would bring much-needed recreation. But how should we view the playing of cards?
The first statement we will look at comes from Adventist Home p. 498:
“There are amusements, such as dancing, card playing, chess, checkers, etc., which we cannot approve because Heaven condemns them…”
Why does heaven condemn these amusements? The paragraph continues, “…These amusements open the door for great evil. They are not beneficial in their tendency, but have an exciting influence, producing in some minds a passion for those plays which lead to gambling and dissipation.” Testimonies vol.1 p. 514.
From the same book we read the following, “The opera, with its fascinating display and bewildering music, the masquerade, the dance, the card table, Satan employs to break down the barriers of principle and open the door to sensual indulgence. In every gathering for pleasure where pride is fostered or appetite indulged, where one is led to forget God and lose sight of eternal interests, there Satan is binding his chains about the soul.” Adventist Home p. 515
The above statement gives the impression that Sr. White is referring to places specifically adapted to house amusements such as the opera, masquerade (a costume party where you would wear a mask), the dance and card table. Today we would probably refer to these as the entertainment centers, cinemas, and casinos found in the cities and suburbs where we live. Okay, so we wouldn’t go to dance parties, casinos or cinemas and we would definitely not attend a costume party wearing masks but what if we take a deck of cards and play with them in the safety of our own homes? Places where we can play with all the family and be away from the corrupt influence of the world? After all cards are only bits of paper with pictures on them and if we take the bad part away, which is gambling, wouldn’t that be ok?
“In many religious families dancing and card playing are made a parlor pastime. It is urged that these are quiet home amusements, which may be safely enjoyed under the parental eye. But a love for these exciting pleasures is thus cultivated, and that which was considered harmless at home will not long be regarded dangerous abroad. It is yet to be ascertained that there is any good to be obtained from these amusements. They do not give vigor to the body nor rest to the mind. They do not implant in the soul one virtuous or holy sentiment. On the contrary, they destroy all relish for serious thought and for religious services. It is true that there is a wide contrast between the better class of select parties and the promiscuous and degraded assemblies of the low dance house. Yet all are steps in the path of dissipation.” Adventist Home p. 516,517.
There are certain questions we need to ask ourselves when it comes to recreation. What influence will this activity have on my moral, physical and mental health?
Our lives and our bodies have been bought with something more precious than the most valuable piece of gold or richest diamond could ever be. Christ has purchased us with His own precious blood and how will we give Him glory and thanks for all His blessings towards us? Would the playing of cards increase my love towards Him who gave His whole life a sacrifice for my sins? Or will it lead me to forget my Redeemer?
As we have seen from the statements and thoughts here presented; God wants us to avoid anything that would destroy our love for Him and leave us feeling devoid of peace and joy. Recreation is an important part of our Christian life and should be viewed and practiced according to the principles of God’s Word. It should fit us to more efficiently carry out the Lord’s claims upon us as Christians and prepare us to rightly influence our family, friends or associates wherever we find them.
An important distinction exists between Christian recreation and worldly amusement.
“Recreation, when true to its name, re-creation, tends to strengthen and build up. Calling us aside from our ordinary cares and occupations, it affords refreshment for mind and body and thus enables us to return with new vigor to the earnest work of life.”
“Amusement, on the other hand, is sought for the sake of pleasure and is often carried to excess; it absorbs the energies that are required for useful work and thus proves a hindrance to life’s true success.”
“Between the associations of the followers of Christ for Christian recreation and worldly gatherings for pleasure and amusement will exist a marked contrast. Instead of prayer and the mentioning of Christ and sacred things will be heard from the lips of worldlings the silly laugh and the trifling conversation. Their idea is to have a general high time. Their amusements commence in folly and end in vanity.” Adventist Home p. 512.
In our recreation we should remember that it’s not just about stopping the bad, and avoiding those activities which destroy desires for Christian service. We also need to replace them with recreational activities that are refreshing and instructional. I remember when I was about 5 years old, I loved playing a game called ‘Memory’. Now this was a set of cards with pictures of Biblical characters or stories. Each picture was paired with another card that had exactly the same picture. All the cards were turned upside down and mixed up on the floor or on a table. Then they were neatly rearranged, face down, forming a rectangle. The purpose of the game was to find the pairs of cards by turning over two cards at a time until all the pairs were together. It was good for my memory and involved no chance or luck.
May God help us that whatever we do may be to His glory and honour.
Should a Christian be found at the ice skating rink?
This is a very real decision facing many of the youth today. There is the need for physical recreation to refresh the mind and body, yet in our search for innocent recreation there will be pressures from friends to join in the fun of something that may seem harmless. For a Christian, special care must be taken not to take part in the frivolous amusements of the world.
As there is no specific answer on ice skating, we must always look at the motives and results of our actions. We will look at a number of questions you may ask yourself in this and similar situations in life.
If you are a sincere follower of Christ, then the first question you should ask yourself is “Would Christ be found at the ice skating rink?”
There are places we are clearly told not to be found in.
“The true Christian will not desire to enter any place of amusement or engage in any diversion upon which he cannot ask the blessing of God. He will not be found at the theater, the billiard hall, or the bowling saloon. He will not unite with the gay waltzers, or indulge in any other bewitching pleasure that will banish Christ from the mind.” MYP 398
Is the skating rink classed the same as the theatres? “Our brethren have been searching for a place to hold meetings in. The theaters and halls present so many objectionable phases that we think we shall use the skating rink, which has lately been used for religious and temperance meetings…” Letter 79, 1893.
The question is can you invite the presence of your Lord? “You will be invited to attend places of amusement….If you are true to Christ then, you will not try to form excuses for your nonattendance, but will plainly and modestly declare that you are a child of God, and your principles would not allow you to be in a place, even for one occasion, where you could not invite the presence of your Lord.” ML 215
This is a rule we should all live by. In our daily walk with Christ we should not enter any place of amusement or engage in any diversion upon which he cannot ask the presence and blessing of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Then ask yourself, “What is your reason for being there? Is it for recreation or is it for amusement?” There is a clear distinction between recreation and amusement.
Recreation is to re-build.
“Recreation, when true to its name, re-creation, tends to strengthen and build up. Calling us aside from our ordinary cares and occupations, it affords refreshment for mind and body, and thus enables us to return with new vigor to the earnest work of life.” Education 207
Amusement is for pleasure only.
“Amusement, on the other hand, is sought for the sake of pleasure and is often carried to excess; it absorbs the energies that are required for useful work and thus proves a hindrance to life’s true success.” Ed 207
Does the result of ice skating refresh your mind and body or does it absorb the energies that are required for useful work?
There is a need for recreation. “It is the privilege and duty of Christians to seek to refresh their spirits and invigorate their bodies by innocent recreation, with the purpose of using their physical and mental powers to the glory of God.” Messages to Young People, 364
“There are modes of recreation which are highly beneficial to both mind and body. An enlightened, discriminating mind will find abundant means for the entertainment and diversion, from sources not only innocent, but instructive. Recreation in the open air, the contemplation of the works of God in nature, will be of highest benefit.” Testimonies vol. 4, 653
Recreation is necessary and there are many forms of recreation and exercise. However the most beneficial form of recreation is in the open air.You must then ask yourself the question, “Are there more beneficial forms of recreation than this?”
Originally ice skating rinks were found in city parks in the outdoors, however today most ice skating rinks are in large indoor buildings and no longer in harmony with God’s plan of recreation in the open air, allowing the contemplation of the works of God in nature.
If it is for amusement, there are other questions you must ask yourself. The following statements come from Fundamentals of Christian Education p 302.
“You need to study carefully the question of amusements. Ask yourself, What is the influence of amusements on mind and character, and on the work which I have come to do?
Ask yourself, What bearing has the question of amusements on my religious life, on my character as a Christian? Do the games in which you participate, fit you to engage in prayer and in the service of God? Do they aid you to bring as much zeal and earnestness into the Lord’s work as you put into the games you play? Have not these amusements in which you have engaged, absorbed your interest so that you have not been able to put as much fervor into the learning of your lessons as you should have done? Which is to have the supremacy—the service of God, or the service of self? Let every student closely examine the ground on which he is standing.”
Maybe you accept the invitation with the desire to witness and try to save the soul of your friend.
In doing this you must also take great care for there is the risk of your own soul.
“It sometimes happens that by frequenting places of amusement, youth who have been carefully instructed in the way of the Lord are carried away by the glamor of human influence, and form attachments for those whose education and training have been of a worldly character. They sell themselves into lifelong bondage by uniting with persons who have not the ornament of a Christlike spirit.” My Life Today, 215
The type of music played?
There is also a question as to the type of music which is played to skate to. How does it influence your thoughts and emotions? Are you learning the graceful art of ice skating or dancing in unison to the beat of the worldly music? This problem may be overcome when a number of Christian families hire the rink exclusively, and can play their own music.
“David’s dancing in reverent joy before God has been cited by pleasure lovers in justification of the fashionable modern dance, but there is no ground for such an argument. In our day dancing is associated with folly and midnight reveling. Health and morals are sacrificed to pleasure. By the frequenters of the ballroom God is not an object of thought and reverence; prayer or the song of praise would be felt to be out of place in their assemblies. This test should be decisive. Amusements that have a tendency to weaken the love for sacred things and lessen our joy in the service of God are not to be sought by Christians.” PP 707
Beware of your life becoming artificial.
“In this, as in all things else that concern our well-being, Inspiration has pointed the way. In early ages, with the people who were under God’s direction, life was simple. They lived close to the heart of nature. Their children shared in the labor of the parents and studied the beauties and mysteries of nature’s treasure house. And in the quiet of field and wood they pondered those mighty truths handed down as a sacred trust from generation to generation. Such training produced strong men.
“In this age, life has become artificial, and men have degenerated. While we may not return fully to the simple habits of those early times, we may learn from them lessons that will make our seasons of recreation what the name implies,—seasons of true upbuilding for body and mind and soul.” Ed 211
The true followers of Christ.
“The true followers of Christ will have sacrifices to make. They will shun places of worldly amusement because they find no Jesus there,—no influence which will make them heavenly-minded and increase their growth in grace. Obedience to the word of God will lead them to come out from all these things and be separate.” CT 328
“When we come to the final hour, and stand face to face with the record of our lives, shall we regret that we have attended so few parties of pleasure? That we have participated in so few scenes of thoughtless mirth? Shall we not, rather, bitterly regret that so many precious hours have been wasted in self-gratification,—so many opportunities neglected, which, rightly improved, would have secured for us immortal treasures?” Messages to Young People, 398
“There are many things which are right in themselves, but which, perverted by Satan, prove a snare to the unwary.” Adventist Home 514
Although much of the counsel is aimed at our youth, we must all both young and old, and even as parents, realise that Satan is preparing a snare for each one of us. Let us each question the many pleasures that may be taking away the precious hours of prayer and study, and are separating your affections from Christ.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:11-14
The Christian’s hope is what is needed in our search for the Fountain of true happiness. We must look beyond the pleasures of the moment. Remember that the pleasures of earth will have an end, and that which you sow you must also reap. Be diligent to make your calling and election sure, as it depends upon your own course of action whether you secure to yourselves the true happiness of eternal life with our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Where do all church offerings go?
As a teenager I remember many “dares” directed in my direction. Dear young reader, I am sure that you too are challenged many times to prove yourself in one way or another. When you pass the test you feel a special satisfaction, a good feeling inside, while on the other hand when you fail it doesn’t feel so good. I still wear many scars from my failed “dares”, so a word of caution – be very careful what challenges you accept.
Union Conference Funds
- Tithe – 10% of all your increase belongs to God, it is holy. (Used to support the ministry)
- Missionary Offering – A free-will offering used for the expenses of operating and administering mission work on the Union level. This fund is always struggling and needs your special attention.
- First Fruit – Proverbs 3:9, “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 526.2: “The first that ripened of every product of the land was consecrated to Him. The first of the wool when the sheep were shorn, of the grain when the wheat was threshed, the first of the oil and the wine, was set apart for God. So also were the first-born of all animals; and a redemption price was paid for the first-born son. The first fruits were to be presented before the Lord at the sanctuary, and were then devoted to the use of the priests.” (Used in a similar way to the Missionary Offering)
- First Day – Offering for the worthy poor established by Apostle Paul in 1st Cor. 16:1-3.
- Publishing Department – Offering to support publishing work and literature ministry.
- Foreign Missions (Pacific) – Unless specially designated this offering is used to help and support ever growing, relatively new Pacific Island Missions.
- Elim Heights Youth Camp – Used for the ever increasing running expenses of the youth camp.
- Union Building Fund – An offering for extensions and building of new churches.
- Week of Prayer Offering – Offering taken at the close of the Week of Prayer Readings, and is forwarded to the General Conference to be used for the furtherance of overseas missions.
- Sabbath School Offering – This is an offering of gratitude for the wonderful truths which we enjoy through the study of the Sabbath School Lessons. Used for the literature ministry.
- (Don’t forget to support your local field.)
- Missionary fund – General fund for the running costs of the field.
- Literature Fund – Pays for the literature given out.
Regular Church Offerings
- Sabbath School Offering – Goes to Union as per above.
- Divine Service (Church) Offering – Used by the local church to establish and maintain its own organized body. (Stays in the local church unless specially directed for a special purpose).
- Young People’s Offering – Used to develop and train Young People in their Christian experience. Half goes to Union, ¼ to the Field, and ¼ stays in the Local Church.
Local Church Offerings
- Local Poor Fund – Used to help those in need locally.
- Church Improvement Fund – For the improvement of the Local Church.
- Prayer Meeting Offering – Used for the church expenses.
- Literature Department – Used for local literature ministry.
- Ordinance Offering – Collected after Lord’s Supper and used for the expenses associated with this sacred service. It may also be used for paying rent, buying furniture for the church, and all local church expenses.
Can I marry someone out of the church and then bring them to the faith?
This is a broad question which has many angles and many sub-questions which need to be answered before this big one.
- Have you given your life and heart to the Lord and been buried with Him in baptism?
- Do you yearn to do the will of the Father with all your mind, heart, body and soul?
- A renewed spirit brings about a new state of mind.
- We should live our lives as an example of what it means to be a follower of Jesus: to draw people to Him, NOT TO OURSELVES.
- Another very important point is that someone who is converted and goes looking for someone who does not share their core beliefs is faced with many pitfalls and great sorrow often follows.
In the Word of God we read:
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14
“I have been shown the cases of some who profess to believe the truth, who have made a great mistake by marrying unbelievers. The hope was cherished by them that the unbelieving party would embrace the truth; but after his object is gained, he is further from the truth than before. And then begin the subtle workings, the continued efforts, of the enemy to draw away the believing one from the faith.” Letters to Young Lovers, 80.1
“My brother, this is the course you should have pursued, but has it been so? Did you ask counsel and guidance of God before marrying your wife, or did you follow your own way? You bound yourself to love and cherish a woman who only accepted you on the condition that you would give up the Sabbath of God. But the man who yields to impulse and his own unconsecrated passions and selects an unbeliever for his wife, yielding up the claims of God, promising to give up the Sabbath if she will marry him, takes a step that will bring unhappiness into his family. He sells his birthright for a mess of pottage. And the woman who trusts her life to such a man will never feel the respect for him that a woman ought to feel for her husband. Every marriage engagement should be carefully considered, for marriage is a step taken for life. Both the man and the woman should carefully consider whether they can cleave to each other through the vicissitudes of life as long as they both shall live.” 10Manuscript Releases vol. 10, 192.1
Is your “Soul” immortal?
Have you ever asked or thought about this question? Many people these days believe in an endless spirit that continues on and on, whether the body dies or not. Why do we believe differently? We hope that you appreciate the following discourse on this interesting subject.
In the Old Testament the word “soul” comes from the Hebrew word nephesh, and in the New Testament from the Greek word psuche.
- Nephesh occurs 745 times in the original Hebrew (OT) and it is translated “soul” 473 times.
- Psuche occurs 105 times in the original Greek (NT) and it is translated “soul” 58 times.
- The word “spirit” in the Old Testament comes from the Hebrew word ruach, and in the New Testament from the Greek word pneuma.
- Ruach occurs 442 times in the original Hebrew (OT) and it is translated “spirit” 232 times.
- Pneuma occurs 385 times in the original Greek (NT) and is translated “spirit” 291 times.
Not one of these references attributes immortality to either the “soul” or the “spirit”.
It is significant that while the words from which “soul” and “spirit” are translated occur about 1,700 times in the Bible, we never find them prefaced or modified by such adjectives as “deathless” or “immortal”. God desires to teach us that we are entirely dependent upon Him for eternal life.
Many modern Christians believe that the soul is immortal not because they could find proof for this doctrine in the Bible, but because they inherited this belief from the pagan philosophies of the first centuries, especially the dark Middle Ages. As Paganism entered in the early Church the original doctrine of the Scriptures regarding the condition of man after death was exchanged for the heresy of the immortality of the soul.
“Many who professed conversion still clung to the tenets of their pagan philosophy, and not only continued its study themselves, but urged it upon others as a means of extending their influence among the heathen. Serious errors were thus introduced into the Christian faith. Prominent among these was the belief in man’s natural immortality and his consciousness in death. This doctrine laid the foundation upon which Rome established the invocation of saints and the adoration of the Virgin Mary. From this sprung also the heresy of eternal torment for the finally impenitent, which was early incorporated into the papal faith.
“Then the way was prepared for the introduction of still another invention of paganism,
which Rome named purgatory, and employed to terrify the credulous and superstitious multitudes. By this heresy is affirmed the existence of a place of torment, in which the souls of such as have not merited eternal damnation are to suffer punishment for their sins, and from which, when freed from impurity, they are admitted to heaven.” Great Controversy 58, 59.
It was the manifestation of Satanic agencies (fallen angels), disguised in bodiless spirits of deceased people that gave origin to the belief of the immortality of the soul. From the very beginning communications between such supposed spirits and the dead has been the basis for heathen worship. The doctrine taught by these evil angels is a falsehood by which Satan rekindles the torch of that great lie he invented at the beginning of the world; “thou shalt not surely die”. Genesis 3:4.
Man does not possess innate immortality. When God placed the first man in the world He said: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:16, 17. But Satan contradicted this divine truth introducing another false proposition: “thou shalt not surely die”. Here lies the foundation for the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. The life which God granted man was conditional. Continuing in obedience he could live; if he disobeyed he would certainly die. On that very day when he disobeyed God’s clear command the death sentence was pronounced upon him: “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:19.
When the death sentence was given, measures were taken that man should not perpetuate his life, God would not permit man to become an immortal sinner.
“So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Genesis 3:24.
“In order to possess an endless existence, man must continue to partake of the tree of life. Deprived of this, his vitality would gradually diminish until life should become extinct. It was Satan’s plan that Adam and Eve should by disobedience incur God’s displeasure; and then, if they failed to obtain forgiveness, he hoped that they would eat of the tree of life, and thus perpetuate an existence of sin and misery. But after man’s fall, holy angels were immediately commissioned to guard the tree of life. Around these angels, flashed beams of light having the appearance of a glittering sword. None of the family of Adam were permitted to pass that barrier to partake of the life-giving fruit; hence there is not an immortal sinner.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 60.
If man had inherent immortality, what was the need of eating of the tree of life in order to perpetuate his existence? If he already possessed immortality, what was the point of preventing man obtaining something he already possessed? If man was immortal, the sentence “unto dust thou shalt return” would be of no effect, because it would not reach the essence of man, the conscious, immortal soul. What is the good of destroying the husk if the grain cannot be destroyed? If man had an immortal soul the death of the flesh would not constitute the death of man. It would be just a continuation of his life in another form. But God said to the whole man, to the entire individuality of him, “thou shalt surely die”.
According to the Bible “soul” is mortal. The words “corruption”, “death”, “to die”, “perish”, “to kill” are used in connection with the soul. We quote a few examples;
- “Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.” Job 33:22.
- “…he spared not their soul from death…” Psalm 78:50.
- “…he saved my soul from death…” Job 33:28, Moffat.
- “For thou hast delivered my soul from death…” Ps. 116:8.
- “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” James 5:20.
If the “soul” is immortal then it is not subject to death. There is no point in releasing something from that to which it is not subject.
- “…dead body…” literally: the soul of the dead. Numbers 6:6; 19:13.
- “…and he requested for himself that he might die.” Literally: that his soul might die. 1 Kings 19:4.
- “…he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah 4:8. Literally: he wished his soul to die.
- “…Let my soul die the death of the righteous” Numbers 23:10. (Darby’s New Translation)
“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4.
“And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies?” Ezekiel 13:19.
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28.
Jesus declared that “soul” can be destroyed. If soul is liable to destruction it cannot be immortal.
Man does not possess immortality in his present sinful condition. There is only One Who has immortality:
“Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto: whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:15, 16.
What is witchcraft?
There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee… For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.” 1
What Do These Terms Mean?
- Divination = the method or practice of attempting to foretell the future or discovering the unknown through omens, oracles, or supernatural powers. Forms of divination include: observing celestial bodies, colours, Feng Shui, tarot cards, by dreams, by examining the markings of the palm of the hand, etc.
- Observer of times = those who look to the stars as their guide in determining future events, calling some days lucky and others not and even determining their future by the movements of clouds or the flight and song of birds. Another form of divination.
- Enchanter = a magician, somebody who casts spells.
- Witch = somebody who uses magic and casts spells.
- Charmer = one who uses spells or is involved in mind control as in hypnosis
- Consulter of familiar spirits = a spiritualist, New Age theories advocate this very much.
- Wizard = a male witch
- Necromancer = one who contacts the dead (who talk with demons impersonating dead people as in the case of the witch of Endor – See 1 Sam 28:3-20)
God said that all these things are an abomination to Him. What is abomination? It means that something is disgusting and loathsome – it is intensely hateful to God.
Modern Sorcery – The Same Old Lies
In the last 10 years or so, the practice of witchcraft has been popularized by Hollywood movie makers and book authors more so it seems than ever before. Have you come across them? Movies and books like those based on a young wizard by the name of Harry Potter? Thousands of children are now keenly reading these books. Do you have any friends who are? It seems that Satan has assumed a playful childlike character and is appealing to young minds.
Witchcraft has clothed itself in more attractive colours. Names like Wicca or Wiccan don’t sound nearly as bad as witch or witchcraft yet fundamentally they are the same. Have you met any of them? Years ago, a work colleague proudly admitted to me that she was a Wiccan. I thought about it. ‘A Wiccan?’ I asked, ‘what is that?’ She frankly said, ‘I’m like a white witch!’. She was in her late teens, vegetarian and one of the nicest people there. Many witches today are themselves not aware of the dangerous character of their religion.
The general public has also been fooled by the so called ‘harmless’ nature of this modern witchery. It seems especially appealing now to the youth of this world to ‘play’ with magic – not realizing the satanic character of its theories. Wiccan theology does away with the truths of the atonement that point to an all powerful Redeemer and leads the poor sinner to look to nature and self as a solution to life’s challenges. It is a Godless religion based on ancient pagan doctrines that originated with the lies of Satan. The same ones he told Eve when by insinuating doubt of God’s words he said, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”
Eve replied, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
The devil quickly said, “Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”2
The same old lies. ‘Ye shall not surely die’ is the doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul. You know, when they tell you that when you die you go straight to heaven or if you’re bad you’ll end up burning forever in hell. These beliefs are nothing new and are believed by millions of people today. Idolatry is also still alive and kicking. The words, ‘ye shall be as gods’ have formed doctrines of self-idolatry stretching from ancient heathen religions of the past to modern-day pagan beliefs. If you think about it, it’s what led to Lucifer’s fall. It is the foundation of all sin. They are popular teachings – reincarnation, the goddess within you, etc. But they are only echoes of the lies of Satan.
The Bible tells us about people who worship false gods. It says, ‘they that make them; are like unto them.’3 Think about it. Where did all the false gods that have ever been made on this earth come from? They came from the imagination of sinful men. They formed them with their own hands. They clothe them with their own human attributes and passions – calling them the ‘god of war’, or ‘the god of love’, or ‘the goddess of fertility’, etc. When people don’t worship the true God, they naturally idolize anything that suits their desires. There are literally thousands of false gods.
Why though does it say, ‘they that make them; are like unto them?’ Notice this next statement, “It is a law of the human mind that by beholding we become changed. Man will rise no higher than his conceptions of truth, purity, and holiness.”4 If you thought that ultimate truth, purity and holiness were expressed in a pagan god that was the product of some sinful man’s imagination – How well do you think you could develop character?
This is why David prayed, ‘Lead me to the Rock that is higher then I’.5 If we would grow spiritually, physically, and mentally, it won’t be because we are focusing on self or any other erring person. It will be because we are beholding Him who is truly perfect – our Creator, so much higher than ourselves.
It’s most likely you’ve heard the popular cliché, ‘curiosity killed the cat’. Well there is truth in this. Curiosity killed Eve and brought a flood of misery and pain upon all of God’s creatures. One day, she was enjoying the pleasures of Eden; “…absorbed in her pleasing task, she unconsciously wandered from side. On perceiving that she was alone, she felt an apprehension of danger, but dismissed her fears, deciding that she had sufficient wisdom and strength to discern evil and to withstand it. Unmindful of the angels’ caution, she soon found herself gazing with mingled curiosity and admiration upon the forbidden tree…Now was the tempter’s opportunity…”6 The rest is painful history.
So curiosity played a major part in the fall. Has Satan tempted you to be curious about forbidden things? Has he suggested that in researching things about pagan religions and their beliefs all would be well? Submit your mind to God and ask for help to resist the devil. The truth is that without Christ, we are no match for the powerful temptations of Satan. God warned us about the danger of embracing a careless curiosity. We are not to be fascinated by the dark and curious mysteries of witchcraft and if at any time we are doing research on this subject it must be looked at in the light of God’s Word and with the protection of His Spirit. Why must we be so careful? “Be cautious in regard to what you read and how you hear. Take not a particle of interest in spiritualistic theories. Satan is waiting to steal a march upon everyone who allows himself to be deceived by his hypnotism. He begins to exert his power over them just as soon as they begin to investigate his theories.”7
The word of God tells us “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”8 This means, stick to the right at all costs. There is a danger that investigation and involvement whether for the purpose of curiosity or proving something wrong can entangle us in a snare.
In Sr. White’s day a brother named Moses Hull fell into this trap. While making an attack against Spiritualism, successfully showing it wrong and leading people out of it, he was tempted to think that his abilities to debate the truth were quite invincible. The success he had led him to think it was due to his own brilliant arguments rather then God’s help. In this state of mind he confidently walked into a company of Spiritualists and began to debate with them. He confessed to a fellow minister later saying, ‘“I thought: Let them bring on their devils. I am enough for the whole of them. But when I arose to make my second speech, my tongue was seemingly as thick as my hand, and what I had often used before as an argument seemed to me like nonsense. I was defeated.”9a
This poor man was taken under the power of hypnotism. He ventured into Satan’s ground alone, where it was not his duty to go and lost his own soul as a result. Sr White warned him of his danger in attending Spiritualistic meetings. Unfortunately, because of his success, he felt sufficient to argue with spiritualists himself alone. The warnings given were unheeded and he was a lost man.10 Let us beware of entering Satan’s domain for whatever reason. Human wisdom and strength are no match for the enemy.
The power of suggestion is very strong. Unless our minds are fortified by the strong principles of God’s Word it can easily become the playground of demons. When the avenues to our soul are not carefully guarded we can easily fall under the power of sin. But this doesn’t need to be the case. The fact is that, “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”11 But Jesus must first be allowed in. We must invite Christ to abide in our minds and believe that He will. But Jesus will not abide in the heart of anyone who doesn’t pray and read and study His Word.
Who is Behind Witchcraft?
Witchcraft is a practice that deals directly with demons and fallen angels. But did you know that not all witches or pagans believe that there is a Devil? This is one of the most successful deceptions of Satan, for it leads the person to let down all their guards as though there where nothing so terribly evil in this world that they need to resist. It leads the person to base all their perceptions of what is right and wrong, not on the measure of truth contained in God’s Word, but on their own judgment.
The Scripture says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”12 We are in a warfare with fallen angels and they are diligently working to destroy the work of God in the hearts and minds of men, women and children and those who practice witchcraft or sorcery are directly under the power of these demons whether they realize it or not. Although most of us will not purposely venture into and participate in the realm of witchcraft or sorcery because it is obviously against God’s will – we must point out that the supernatural powers associated with witchcraft are inherently Satan’s and one does not necessarily have to be a witch to be under this influence.
Are You a Sorcerer?
Ok. So we aren’t witches or wizards and we don’t go around casting spells on people. But are we under the influence of sorcery? Or are we unconsciously using sorcery on others? How can this be? Sr. White explains, “Every person who cherishes a known error, in faith or practice, is under the power of sorcery, and is practicing sorcery upon others. Satan employs him to mislead other souls.”13 Now that is a startling statement!
I’m sure you don’t want to be under the power of sorcery! Or much less be an agent for Satan to mislead others! Well, what will you do about it? The only way is to be God’s alone. We cannot serve two masters. If we are God’s, we will be His entirely and will not hold back anything that He requires of us. We’ll put away all wrong that we know and learn to do the right. In this we have the promise of His help. It is infinitely better to be a conqueror on the side of God than to be a looser on the side of Satan or to have one foot on each side of the fence and be neither here nor there.
Can God Save a Witch?
God can save anyone who comes to Him and repents of all the sins they have done, even witches. These poor souls have sadly been deceived by Satan, but God is longsuffering and is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. There are thousands of deceived souls in this world that have not had the light of truth shown to them. What is the best way to reach out to a pagan? Maybe you know somebody who is a witch or a pagan. How can you best help them? Are you to take your Bible in your hand, chase after them and in a loud voice condemn their evil practices? Or is there a better way? “The people of the world are worshiping false gods. They are to be turned from their false worship, not by hearing denunciation of their idols, but by beholding something better. God’s goodness is to be made known. “Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.” Isa. 43:12.”14 Here is the key to success in helping them.
So, it is by knowing ourselves the great goodness of God that can make us of any lasting use in this life. We need to first be filled with admiration and appreciation of His loving character, and then when we know that we have in our possession something more valuable than all the riches in this world, we will with zeal announce it to those who need to know. They have a right to hear it. They too have been purchased with the precious blood of Christ and if for some reason you come across such a person and they are within the sphere of your influence; you may tell them of an all-powerful loving God that has a better way for us to live.
- Detueronomy 18:10-12, 14.
- Genesis 3:1-5
- Psalms 115:8
- Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 91
- Psalms 61:2
- Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 53, 54
- Mind, Character and Personality Volume 2, p. 718
- Romans 12:21
- Ellen G. White Vol. 2, The Progressive Years 1862-1876, by Author L. White, p. 55
- For an account of Elder Hull’s experience see 2BIO p. 53-58.
- 1 John 4:4
- Ephesians 6:12
- Signs of the Times, May 18, 1882 par. 18
- Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 299
Is it OK to dye your hair?
This is an interesting question which can be considered from a few angles.
Hair dyeing is nothing new, in fact it has been around for many centuries. The ancient Greeks and Romans were known to dye their hair dark in an attempt to continue looking young, while later in history Germanic warriors often dyed their hair blonde. The Puritans forbade the dyeing or bleaching of hair, associating it with loose moral behavior. Of course we shouldn’t do or not do something just because it has been practiced for a long time or because traditionally it has been looked on as good or bad – we need to earnestly search and pray to seek God’s will for us, now!
I have had a great variety of hair experiences in my life time. Starting with no hair progressing to straight and blondish, dark and straight, dark and curly, dark and curly with grey hair coming through, then worst of all the thick mop started to thin! At each of these stages I have gone through various degrees of acceptance or no acceptance of what God has allowed to happen on top of my head.
Curiosity, acceptance in society or just trying to deal with or accept who we are or what we are becoming often causes us to try and change our appearance through different means. When at the age of 13-14 my hair decided to start going curly, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out – a number of friends used to tease me about perming it. This didn’t really bother me as I didn’t mind having curly hair. But when at about the age of 17-18 some grey hair started coming through – then I really didn’t like what was happening. At one stage I went and bought some dye but somehow never used it. Friends would sometimes notice and comment on it. Once someone advised me to start dyeing my natural colour soon, so no one would know I was dyeing it. What should I do?
Dye or not dye? Why? Why not? God – what would you have me do? Studying the Bible I found only one straw to grab at – a reason why I could dye my hair. We are in the time of restoration of all things – but no, that one didn’t work. If we use this reasoning where do we stop? How long can we battle against accepting who we are, change or old age before we accept God’s will? Will we become like Michael Jackson and reconstruct our faces, or Walt Disney and get our bodies especially frozen so they can be started up and restored when man supposedly develops the technology to do so?
“Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” Romans 9:20
There are things that I haven’t wanted to accept in my life – how is it with you? Do you accept God made you the way you are for a reason? Do you accept God allows things to happen and just trust all to Him? He made us the way we are – why do we want to change it?
“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:13-16
God allows us to get old – He says that grey hair is ok, in fact glorious, why do we say it’s not?
“Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:32
“The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” Proverbs 16:31
Have you ever considered that it appears God the Father has white hair? Then why do we think it’s ugly?
“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.” Daniel 7:9
Let us not run away from God and what He allows. Let’s not be like Peter who said in Acts 10:14 “Not so, Lord;” if we call Him Lord, the Ruler, the One in charge of all, we need to trust not regret, and say yes Lord Thy will be done. He wants us to be happy and if we follow His ways we will find it more enjoyable, cheaper, and less troublesome than following fashion and trying to make ourselves be and look how we think we should look.
“The beauty of the soul, when compared with outward display, is regarded almost valueless. In the anxiety to meet the standard of fashion, beauty of character is overlooked. A writer has well said:—
‘Curls and cosmetics are all in requisition to enhance the beauty of ‘the human face divine;’ but what is the result? Youth’s roses only flee the faster—old age will creep on apace; rouge cannot hide its wrinkles, nor can it make any face beautiful. We are decided believers in the old adage, ‘handsome is that handsome does.’ No face has true beauty in it that does not mirror the deeds of a noble soul. There is not a thought, word, or deed, that does not leave its autograph written on the human countenance; and we care not whether kind nature has given her child an ugly face or a handsome one, if the heart that beats underneath all is warm and loving. and if the soul that looks out from the eyes be true and pure, the face will be beautiful always, for it has found the true fountain of youth; and though time may fold the hair in silver, and furrow the brow, yet there will ever be a beauty lighting it up that years cannot dim, for the heart and soul never grow old.’ ” The Health Reformer, October 1, 1871 par. 14, 15.
Acceptance of what God allows and trust in Him is a wonderful thing – ask yourself the question, am I accepting what He has created by dyeing my hair?
Another angle to consider with this question of dyeing hair is the question of health and safety. We are to remember our bodies are God’s temple, to avoid damaging them, putting harmful substances in. Your skin is the biggest organ of your body which absorbs chemicals that come in contact with it. Currently there is an ongoing debate as to the risks of using hair dyes. Some people say dyes are perfectly safe. Some studies show the regular use of hair dye could increase the chances of bladder cancer by 22-50%! 1 According to another study hair dyeing could cause a 20% increased risk of lymphoma (cancers of the lymphatic system)2. Realizing the possible dangers of hair dyes and skin sensitization the European Union has set up the The Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) to further investigate the dangers of dyes and cosmetics.3
“But the dye I use is natural!” Consider the thoughts we have already shared regarding accepting what God allows and remember that many so called natural products are not as harmless as they claim to be. Henna, for instance, only comes in reds and browns. Black henna has been known to cause edema, collapse, and renal failure in severe cases, possible asthma, liver and bladder cancers, and to be mutagenic.4
As we prayerfully consider this matter let us be ready to follow God’s perfect will in our lives.
- Public Health Rep. 2005 Jan–Feb; 120(1): 31–38.; Michael Huncharek and Bruce Kupelnick; Division of Radiation Oncology, Department of Clinical Oncology, Marshfield Clinic Cancer Center, Marshfield, WI, USA.
- International Journal of Epidemiology Volume 34, Number 5, pp. 1118-1122
- Association of Schools of Public Health Press Release ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees
What’s wrong with chocolate?
There is evidence to show that during the process of preparing cocoa beans for chocolate there is often a lack of hygiene – as a result insect fragments, rodent hair, moulds and other contaminants are dried with the cocoa beans and eventually end in the chocolate people eat! While this is one good reason not to eat chocolate which is often raised, it is not our purpose to scare anyone to quit eating chocolate through this means. Just remember God wants you to be healthy and happy and has promised a blessing if we follow His guidance in looking after our bodies. Search, pray and ask for God’s strength to follow His will for you. The following article goes a little further into some of the effects chocolate can have on our body. We hope you find it interesting.
Are Cocoa and Chocolate Health Foods?
Of recent times science has promoted some of the phytochemicals and/or anti oxidants within tea, coffee and cocoa, as being health promoting. Although this is true, many scientists and nutritionists take a more holistic approach, and think that other components with negative health effects, negate any small benefit from these phytochemicals and/or anti oxidants – which are abundant in other plant foods anyway.
Health Hazards Due to Eating Cocoa and Chocolate
Knowledge about the dangers of cocoa, tea and coffee is not new knowledge.
“The evils arising from the use of tea and coffee are more numerous than are supposed… The objections mentioned as applying to tea and coffee may be urged with equal force against cocoa and chocolate, the effects of which differ from the effects of tea and coffee chiefly in degree.” Good Health Cooking Book, Mrs Loretta Kress, M.D., Signs Pub. Co. Ltd, 1909.
Cocoa powder is the essential ingredient in chocolate. It depends on the type of cocoa bean and from which part of the world that the bean was harvested, as to how much theobromine and caffeine the cocoa powder will have.
Cocoa powder has 50% of the natural cocoa butter removed, which while making it a lower fat product than originally, it also increases the available theobromine and caffeine, and oxalic acid per weight.
The theobromine and caffeine alkaloids are irritating to the body and provide no positive addition to a healthful diet. “Oxalic acid which has the property of combining with calcium in the human digestive tract, rendering the calcium useless for human nutrition, and also robbing the body of stored calcium, and allowing it to be excreted in the urine rather than being absorbed by the body.” Homemade Health, Raymond & Dorothy Moore, Word Books, 1986
“The caffeine in cocoa stimulates the heart, raises the blood pressure, and lowers the blood sugar levels, and creates a false sense of security in that it appears to relax tired nerves. It can cause damage to genetic material, and can therefore genetically lead to the development of cancer by altering DNA. The theobromine in chocolate produces these same undesirable effects. In acne cases, it is usually one of the first foods forbidden by the doctor…” The Divine Philosophy and Science of Health and Healing, Gunther B. Paulien, Ph.D., Teach Services, Inc., 1995
Caffeine Content in Cocoa and Chocolate Can Be Significant
“The caffeine content (of chocolate) varies according to the amount of chocolate the product contains as well as the variety of cocoa bean used. The addition of sugar and cocoa butter to processes cocoa gives sweet or dark chocolate. Further addition of milk solids gives milk chocolate. Hence, a 2 ounce (60 gram) chocolate candy bar typically contains from 10 to 40 milligrams of caffeine, depending upon the variety of chocolate.” Eating For Good Health, Winston J Craig, Ph.D., R.D., Golden Harvest Books, 1993
An average sized, 100gram chocolate block, can have 30 to 120 milligrams of caffeine, depending upon cocoa content. Many people can consume that amount of chocolate, or much more in a short period of time.
When the caffeine content of chocolate is compared with some known caffeine rich foods the results are surprising. A small cup (150mls) instant coffee – 60 milligrams; black tea – 60 milligrams, bagged, 3min. brew – 45 milligram; instant tea – 35 milligrams.
A can 8 oz (360grams) Mountain Dew – 52 milligrams; Pepsi Cola – 37 milligrams; Coca Cola – 34 milligrams.
Many people avoid the “brown drinks” of coffee, tea and cola because they take a stand against caffeine, and then consume significant caffeine levels from cocoa and chocolate.
The Additions to Cocoa Powder in the Process of Making Chocolate Have Their Own Negative Impact Upon Health
Chocolate can have an impact upon stress levels and behaviour.
“Refined sugar levels are significant in chocolate. The more sugar and refined carbohydrates we eat, the more unable the person becomes to maintain even blood sugar levels. There is conclusive evidence that high sugar consumption is linked to poor mental health…..Sugar has been implicated in aggressive behaviour, anxiety, hypoactivity and attention deficit, depression, eating disorders, fatigue, learning difficulties and PMS.” When there are problems with blood sugar levels, stimulants and stress are linked. When blood sugar levels drop, “there are two ways to raise it. One is to eat more glucose and the other is to increase your level of stress hormones adrenalins and cortical. There are ways you raise adrenalins and cortical. Consume a stimulant – tea, coffee, chocolate or cigarettes. Or react stressfully, causing an increase in your own production of adrenalins…It is easy to get caught up in the vicious cycles of stress, sugar and stimulants. It will leave you feeling tired, depressed and stressed much of the time.” Optimum Nutrition for the Mind, Patrick Holford, Piatkus Publishers, 2003
Chocolate can Negatively Impact on Blood Cholesterol Levels
“…saturated fats tend to raise cholesterol levels. Saturated fats are found in animal products like meats, milk and cheeses and also in coconut, chocolate, and hydrogenated oils (in shortening and margarines).”
“Some studies show that coffee, even decaffeinated (at 3 mgr. Per 150mls) will increase the cholesterol level by an average of 10%. More sensitive individuals will show even greater rises in response to these beverages.” The McDougall Program, John A. Mc Dougall, Plume, 1991.
For some individuals, even the relatively low amounts of caffeine in cocoa drinks and products, can be a factor in increasing cholesterol levels, when consumed regularly.
Chocolate Implicated in Allergies and Fatigue
“Some people also suffer from food allergies that result in a condition known… as ‘tension-fatigue syndrome’. The most common cause of food allergy is milk, egg, chocolate, wheat, corn, and citrus fruits. The McDougall Program, John A. Mc Dougall, Plume, 1991
Gunther B. Paulien, writes….”cocoa is one of the sources of allergies in children….One doctor found that of the 100 children chosen at random, 76 were found to be allergic to chocolate.” The Divine Philosophy and Science of Health and Healing, page 182.
Chocolate can be the Cause of Migraine Headaches
John Mc Dougall on page 346, in the The Mc Dougall Program, writes “Since 1913, migraine headaches have been suspected to be caused by allergic reactions”….” I find that the most important foods to eliminate are dairy products (yes, even skimmed milk yoghurt and cottage cheese). The next most likely culprits are eggs and chocolate, then citrus fruits, corn and wheat….”
Gunther B. Paulien, concurs in even stronger terms, “Chocolate is not especially good for you. Besides being fattening, it also contains a chemical – Tyramine, which can trigger headaches. And since it is nearly all fat, and contains caffeine, it should be avoided at all costs, especially if a person is suffering from heartburn.”
Chocolate Not Healthful for Children or Pets
“It must be explained especially to the young, that the use of chocolate may produce, poor teeth, soft bones, bad hearts and nervousness and bad complexion.”Gunther B. Paulien, The Divine Philosophy and Science of Health and Healing, Teach Services, Inc, 1995
“In any event keep chocolate products away from your pets, especially dogs, for theobromine is said to be deadly for dogs”…Theobromine poisoning in dogs may bring incontinence, nervousness, and even seizures.” Homemade Health, Raymond and Dorothy Moore, Word Books, 1986
Chocolate Drops for dogs, are in fact carob.
There is medical advice from one hundred years ago down to this current age, from health professionals from a variety of other backgrounds, all advocating that the use of cocoa and chocolate products are not consistent with vibrant health of body, mind or spirit.
The harmful affects from cocoa come mainly from theobromine, caffeine and oxalic acid. Chocolate has the harmful affects from the cocoa powder, combined with those arising from the added ingredients, sugar, milk, saturated fat and flavourings that make up the chocolate bar.
The recommendation is to use carob powder in place of cocoa, but to use Carob Bars sparingly, because of their high saturated fat and sugar levels.
Is it OK to wear makeup?
The practice of using makeup has been around for many centuries. In fact, “…Evidence of the use of eye makeup and aromatic ointments has been found in Egyptian tombs dating to 3500 BC…”
Looking at history we find that;
“Egyptian, Roman, Greek and Middle Eastern cultures had developed cosmetics such as powders to whiten the skin; kohl to darken the eyelids, eyelashes, and eyebrows; rouge for the cheeks…” (Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 5, p. 196).
“During the Predynastic period (ending in 3200 B.C.), men as well as women applied a line of green paint around the eyes…In dynastic times the colour of paint used was a dark gray. Red ochre seems to have been used to colour the cheeks and henna the palms, nails, and, in the late period at least, the hair. (Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 5, 1979 Edit., pp. 1017-1018).
In the western world, the advent of cosmetics was in the middle ages, although typically restricted to use within the upper classes. Cosmetic use was frowned upon at some points in history. Queen Victoria publicly declared makeup improper, vulgar, and acceptable for use by actors only. Adolf Hitler told women that face painting was for clowns and not for the women of the Master Race.
By the middle of the 20th century, cosmetics were in widespread use in nearly all societies around the world. The worldwide cosmetics industry is a multinational, multi-billion-dollar industry. Wikipedia, Encyclopedia
Today “An estimated 1,282 tubes of lipstick and 2,055 jars of skin care products are sold every minute” (“Beauty in the mind and wallet of beholder,” Minnesota Daily Online, March 7, 2001)
Considering the above facts, we ask the question; why do people both now and in the past wear makeup? Some of the many possible reasons could include insecurity, curiosity, the need to feel accepted, to be different, to look better, or simply because I don’t like myself the way I am.
Throughout history people have used makeup for many different reasons. The important question for us is, what did God think of it? What does our wonderful loving God who loves us and wants the best for us, want for us today?
Let us look at some Bible examples where makeup was used and see how God viewed it. One example that comes to mind is that of Queen Jezebel. According to 2 Kings 9:22 she was definitely not a follower of God. Being the daugher of Ethbaal, a priest of Baal, she killed the prophets and constantly lead Israel into sin.
“And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?”
The wicked queen painted her face and tried to seduce Jehu who had come on a mission of judgment.
“And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.” 2 Kings 9:30
The Lord in no way approved of any of Jezebel’s actions – she came to a tragic end as did many others who lifted themselves up, adorned themselves with makeup and jewelry but forgot their purpose of existence and direction in life. See the following examples.
“Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life.” Jeremiah 4:30 (KJV)
Or as another version states: “Why dress yourself in scarlet and put on jewels of gold? Why shade your eyes with paint? You adorn yourself in vain. Your lovers despise you; they seek your life.” Jer. 4:30 (NIV)
In Ezekiel 23 God compares Samaria and Jerusalem to two sisters who became harlots. We again find a connection between this behaviour with makeup and jewelry – God hates their behaviour.
“And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far, unto whom a messenger was sent; and, lo, they came: for whom thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and deckedst thyself with ornaments, And satest upon a stately bed, and a table prepared before it, whereupon thou hast set mine incense and mine oil. And a voice of a multitude being at ease was with her: and with the men of the common sort were brought Sabeans from the wilderness, which put bracelets upon their hands, and beautiful crowns upon their heads. Then said I unto her that was old in adulteries, Will they now commit whoredoms with her, and she with them?” Ezekiel 23:40-43
“Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, The rings, and nose jewels, The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails. And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty. Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war. And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.” Isaiah 3:16-26
Note the term “wanton eyes” found in verse 16. Strong’s Concordance defines “wanton eyes” as “…to blink coquettishly (flirtatious).”
The American Heritage Dictionary amplifies the meaning of “wanton”: to be “Immoral or unchaste; lewd.”
The Jamison, Fausset, Brown Commentary adds an additional, element to the phrase “wanton eyes” “Hebrew (mesha-ququeroth, from shaquar, to deceive), ‘deceiving with their eyes.’… ‘falsely setting off the eyes with paint.’ Women’s eyelids in the East are often colored with stibium, or powder of lead.”
Surely the women mentioned here have lost their direction and purpose in life and wasted their time and money on all sorts of clothes, jewelry, and cosmetics: their vanity was to be punished. Why did they waste their time and money on makeup and jewelry – to attract attention to who? To be faithful to who? Not to the Lord – no, SELF was their idol. Though they had a time of luxury and immorality the end of it all was shame, disease, and death.
God wants us to glorify Him in our lives – He was displeased with Israel because of self worship and for the use of cosmetics and adornment; He said;
“Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.” Isaiah 2:6
The Clarke’s Commentary adds fascinating insight into the phrase “replenished from the east.” It is a reference to the Orient, where many cosmetics were produced and sold in ancient times. The following reference gives further insight into what came from the east.
“In places such as China, India and Africa, women adorned themselves with more colorful fabrics and ornamentation as compared to the Western hemisphere. China, for instance, began developing silk weaving and embroidery techniques during the Ancient era, and used such details in their clothing design and manufacturing. However, while clothing may have been simpler, women from all cultures adorned themselves with jewelry such as earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and rings fashioned from earthy materials such as stones and gems. Cosmetics were also used by women from ancient times. As for hair, women often braided their hair or kept their head covered by fabric draped about the face like a hood.” Selected from http://www.erasofelegance.com/fashion/history.html
Once the verses in Isaiah are examined and understood, it is clear why God is “provoked” to anger. Cosmetics were being used to mislead and deceive. They were used to create a false appearance and adorn the poor mortal body to try and glorify man.
Remember God loves you just as you are – He made you the way you are for a reason; you don’t have to fix your face, you don’t have to hide behind a fake mask. He says in Psalms 139:13-16:
“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”
What is His will for you?
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
God loves you the way you are, why not follow His way? It’s a cheaper, happier existence in the end. Look to Jesus, not to man – sin started when Satan wanted to be something he wasn’t; Eve fell because she wanted to become something she wasn’t – do you remember Genesis 1:31?
“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”
Everything was very good including man. Until Satan came with another suggestion – you can be better – you can be like gods.
Because the fruit “was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Genesis. 3:6
Do we see a parallel today – is Satan selling similar products to women today? Products that are —“pleasant to the eyes” and that improve you? Are men approving and also partaking of similar fashions?
God says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1 John 2:15, 16.
While it is in the interest of producers of cosmetics to convince you that their products will make “you look like you, only better,” or “you at your most beautiful,” God says otherwise! He did not see the need to make Eve’s eyelids light green, her lips bright red, purple or any other unnatural color. Trying to improve your face through the use of cosmetics is like saying to God, “I am not happy with the way you made me,” or, after applying makeup, asking Him, “Why didn’t you make me like this?” Your face doesn’t need to be “fixed” or “put on” when God made you He pronounced you very good – “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” Romans 9:20. Is this something you want to ask God—either by word or action? Be careful not to be guilty of questioning God’s judgment in creating you exactly how He did.
Let us remember the time in which we live and live to give glory to our Creator. Life is too short to waste doing anything else.
May God bless you in your walk with Him.
“There is a class of young ladies in this age who are merely useless creatures, only good to breathe, eat, wear, chat, and talk nonsense, while they hold in their fingers a bit of embroidery or crochet. But few of the youth show real sound judgment and good common sense. They lead a butterfly life with no special object in view. When this class of worldly associates get together, about all you can hear is a few silly remarks about dress, or some frivolous matter, and then they laugh at their own remarks which they consider very bright.
“This is frequently done in the presence of older persons, who can but feel saddened at such lack of reverence for their years. These youth seem to have lost all sense of modesty and good manners. Yet the manner in which they have been instructed leads them to think it the height of gentility. This spirit is like a contagious disease. God’s people should choose the society for their children and teach them to avoid the company of these vain worldlings.” Testimonies vol.1, 394-395
Computer games: are they good or not, and should Christian boys and girls be playing them?
I have heard some people say computer games are bad and a waste of time. That is about half true. Some computer games are a waste of time, some are good and some are just plain bad. But we should evaluate them against the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” Philippians 4:8.
“The time is not far off when the people of God will be called upon to give their testimony before the rulers of the earth. Not one in twenty has a realization of what rapid strides we are making toward the great crisis in our history…There is no time for vanity, for trifling, for engaging the mind in unimportant matters.”
“I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” Psalms 101:3
What are the reasons you play computer games? It may be that you are addicted to them; maybe you are learning how to drive vehicles, trains, boats or aeroplanes, or maybe you just don’t have anything else better to do.
There are many classes or types of computer games. The main categories are simulators, puzzles, action games, strategy, and schooling.
Simulators can be really interesting, because with the technology these days, they seem so life-like.
Puzzles are good for exercising your mind. They also help with learning, and if the game does this well, then it can be used with good benefit in schooling.
Action games are generally violent and increasingly immoral. They are also a tremendous waste of time. Firstly, you don’t get much out of it that will be a practical or spiritual help in your life, and secondly, action games live up to the name ‘action’, usually in fighting, war, piracy, and adventure (exploring mythical places). Not only are they bad but they also shorten your brainpower. In an article published in the Observer on Sunday August 19, 2001 on page 7 of the News section, it says, “Computer games are creating a dumbed-down generation of children far more disposed to violence than their parents, according to a controversial new study.” Ibid.
“The tendency to lose control is not due to children absorbing the aggression involved in the computer game itself, as previous researchers have suggested, but rather to the damage done by stunting the developing mind.” Ibid.
“Using the most sophisticated technology available, the level of brain activity was measured in hundreds of teenagers playing a Nintendo game and compared to the brain scans of other students doing a simple, repetitive arithmetical exercise. To the surprise of brain-mapping expert Professor Ryuta Kawashima and his team at Tohoku University in Japan, it was found that the computer game only stimulated activity in the parts of the brain associated with vision and movement.” Ibid.
“In contrast, arithmetic stimulated brain activity in both the left and right hemispheres of the frontal lobe – the area of the brain most associated with learning, memory and emotion.” Ibid.
For some people, strategy games are quite thrilling, like the board game of chess, etc. Most strategy games along the lines of Age of Empires are all mythology. Webster defines mythology like this, “A system of fables or fabulous opinions and doctrines respecting the deities which heathen nations have supposed to preside over the world or to influence the affairs of it.” Rather than say, ‘it’s only a game’, we should ask the question, ‘how does God feel about this?’ God says in Deuteronomy 12:30 that we should not enquire how heathen nations served their gods. If we are not even to be curious about the pagan lifestyle of the heathen, should we think that playing these games is harmless?
Another aspect of a computer game being bad is how much time you spend on it, and if it stands in the way of your time with God. If you spend hours on them, then they are bad because your mind stops focusing on God and is focused on an artificial game. I can tell you that from my own experience. If mum or dad said that I was not allowed to go on the computer, in my heart, I would rebel; reason being that I was addicted to them.
Now, should Christian boys and girls be playing computer games? First, is the game in accordance with God’s law, next, do our parents allow it? Would the game wedge itself between me and my relationship with God? For me personally, I would say yes, but for others I stress that you come to your own conclusion, for it is between you and God to choose what you will do. But the choices you make now will determine your destiny.
When you are considering playing a game or you want to know if it’s good, give it the Phillipians 4:8 test. First, ask the question, “is it real to life?” if the game is true to life, then proceed to the second question, “is the game honest?” thirdly, “is it just?” fourthly, “is it pure?” fifthly, “is it of good report?” and sixthly, “if there is any praise and virtue, think on these things.” If the game passes all these tests, then it is a good game.
So then, we need to be aware which computer games are a waste of time, which ones are just plain bad and which ones are good. Remember that our time on this earth is very short and we need to use it the best way we can, we need to tell the world about Jesus and His soon return. So let’s use our time wisely, in the service of God, and judge carefully by the Scriptures and Spirit of Prophecy as to what you let your mind see and hear.
“There are amusements, such as dancing, card-playing, chess, checkers, etc., which we cannot approve, because Heaven condemns them. These amusements open the door for great evil. They are not beneficial in their tendency, but have an exciting influence, producing in some minds a passion for those plays which lead to gambling and dissipation. All such plays should be condemned by Christians, and something perfectly harmless should be substituted in their place. Messages to Young People, p. 392, para. 1.
“Transgression has almost reached its limit. Confusion fills the world, and a great terror is soon to come upon human beings. The end is very near. God’s people should be preparing for what is to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise. Our time is precious. We have but a few, a very few, days of probation in which to make ready for the future, immortal life.” Child Guidance, p. 555, para. 2, 3.
“Satan delights in war, for it excites the worst passions of the soul and then sweeps into eternity its victims steeped in vice and blood. It is his object to incite the nations to war against one another; for he can thus divert the minds of the people from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God.” Counsels on Health, p. 460, para. 1.